The Republic of Ireland will be expecting to collect all three points as they face FIFA’s newest member state, Gilbraltar, at the Aviva Stadium.
Just seconds away from what would have been a frustrating draw in their opening match in Georgia, Aiden McGeady produced a moment of sheer inspiration to earn his side what could be a crucial victory in the context of what looks certain to be a closely fought group. The Everton winger has not quite fulfilled his potential in green, but saved a special goal for a must-win game.
With Scotland and Poland providing stiff competition in the race to finish second behind expected Group D winners Germany, Martin O’Neill’s men cannot afford to drop points against a side largely made up part-timers. Gibraltar are involved in their first qualification campaign, and despite a friendly win against Malta in June, they suffered a heavy 7-0 loss to the Poles in their first competitive encounter.
Manager Allen Bula set his side the target of a top three finish before the campaign started, an aim that looks somewhat fanciful, with nine players in the squad taken from national champions Lincoln Red Imps. Also among their ranks are Preston North End right-back Scott Wiseman and Bristol Rovers winger Jake Gosling.
The Irish are without Everton duo Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy, which could mean starts for David Meyler and Ciaran Clark, with John O’Shea expected to be shifted to the right of the back four.
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